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VOL. 131 | NO. 137 | Monday, July 11, 2016

Kroger Brings Online Ordering to More Memphis-Area Locations

By Andy Meek

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Kroger suspected there was plenty of demand in the Memphis market for the online ordering system the grocery chain has been rolling out in recent weeks.

The rollout continues of Kroger's new online ordering system in the Memphis area that lets shoppers choose items beforehand and arrange a time to pick them up. Kroger said it saw record high traffic at the first area store to get the service, in Germantown.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

When the company brought ClickList to the first Memphis-area store last month, Kroger executives saw firsthand. They don’t have exact numbers to share, but Kroger confirmed that the launch of its ClickList online system at the first area Kroger – in Germantown at 7735 Farmington Blvd. – generated the most opening week orders for any store in the entire chain.

That’s according to Kroger Delta Division spokeswoman Teresa Dickerson, who added that the rollout has added a few new stores where shoppers can use the ClickList system to order groceries ahead of time. For stores with the service enabled, most of the items inside can be bought online ahead of time, and all the shopper needs to do is choose a time to come pick everything up.

When they arrive, an employee brings the purchases outside to the customer.

In addition to the Germantown Kroger on Farmington, Kroger has either brought or announced the ClickList service for its stores at:

• Kroger Trinity Commons, at 676 N. Germantown Parkway

• Kroger Bartlett, at 5995 Stage Road

• Kroger Southaven, at 3095 Goodman Road

• Kroger Marketplace, at 1725 S. Caraway Road in Jonesboro, Ark.

Shoppers at the Germantown Kroger started picking up orders Thursday, June 16, that were placed online. The cost is $4.95 per order, and there’s no minimum amount the customer has to order.

Customers are paying car-side for their purchases at the moment. But Jeff Evans, e-commerce manager for Kroger Delta Division, added that the ability to pay online is coming “very, very soon.”

The way the rollout is happening, the ability to buy online and virtually “fill” shopping carts starts on Sundays. Kroger sets the pickup times to start on Thursday of that week, which is why the second area store to get the service – the Trinity Commons location – started seeing its first ClickList pickups a few days ago, on July 7.

One of the ways a brick-and-mortar model still benefits a chain like Kroger is when customers show up and make impromptu buys they hadn’t planned on at the outset. But even though customers already know to some degree what they want when making purchases online, Evans said that same spur-of-the-moment behavior exists.

“We had one customer who placed an order and when she picked it up saw that her car actually wasn’t big enough to carry everything,” he said. “So she literally had to make two trips. Obviously, that had never happened to her before shopping online. So when you think about the incremental or impromptu spend, it can still happen online.”

One of the reasons for the incremental rollout of the service is to not overwhelm Kroger’s infrastructure. It has required construction at some stores – not all of them are getting the ClickList capability – like new cold storage areas for items that need to stay frozen until customers pick them up.

“The orders are hitting all departments” with the exception of beer, tobacco and wine products, Evans said. “One thing we’re also seeing that’s been pretty cool is we’re already starting to see repeat customers. Their first order will be kind of a tryout, and then they come back and give us their ‘real’ order after picking just a few items the first time.”

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